Friday, February 8, 2013

Week 5 Post Op and My Boat.

Yesterday was the 7th of February. Which means one month ago I was going under the knife (technically 5 weeks ago).
I would say that this 5 weeks has been one of THE longest 5 weeks of my life. I should really go back and read my entries from surgery the first time around and I'd bet they weren't much different. But that feels like so long ago.
This surgery was not the easiest for me. I've had a lot of downs during the healing process. Not having to do with food or what I can eat, but mentally this has been a rough time. And a few physical things too. Every little twinge I have, I jump to the worst case scenario...and most of the time it's been nothing. I'm still trying to figure out what is going on with me that is making me react like this all of a sudden.

I've had a lot more "What if I didn't make the right decision?" this time around. I think because the recovery has been slower. I still haven't been able to get into the gym yet because of this abdominal muscle strain. I was in pain from the surgery but then last week slipped on the ice and really tweaked it good. Today is the first day it feels pretty good...I was able to actually bend over with minimal pain today. You never realize how much you actually use your abdominal muscles until they cause you pain...something as simple as getting off the couch or putting pants on was excrutiating this past week. I am hopeful I am on the upswing. I definitely don't want to reinjure it, so, although I am dying to hit the treadmill, I think I'm going to give myself at least one more week, if not two. It's going to be so hard, but I know in the long run, I will be better off.

In other news, I will tell you that what has gotten me through these past 5 weeks is my friends...people who listen to my crazy rantings and tell me logically why I'm not thinking clearly and talk me off the ledge. The other, and more important thing, is that I've really found my spirituality again. I'm normally not one to preach religion to others. Religion, to me, is a very special and private thing. I don't like to talk about it with many people because of that. I talk about it with my friend Tony and of course with Angie who is nice enough to spend every Sunday at church with me. Other than that, I really keep it to myself. But, I wouldn't have gotten through these 5 weeks without God. I've been praying to Him daily. Sometimes multiple times a day...just for health and for strength. I heard a sermon in the past couple weeks about the parable of Jesus walking on water to His disciples. And it says He walked on water towards them, in the middle of the rough storms, and He got in the boat, and all was calm. And the Pastor said we need to remember that no matter how rough the storms Jesus is always in our boat.

And that right peace.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The sleeve and me

In some ways, it feels like it's been a month instead of just over a week. That's been mostly due to the panic that has come along for the ride on this journey. For as prepared as I thought I was, I wasn't prepared for this. That's the thing about control. When you have control, everything is as fine as a summer breeze. When you are used to having control and you lose it...well that's a whole different ball game, isn't it?

In the grand scheme of things, this has been a very easy surgery for me. I've had little to no pain. I spent one night in the hospital. I'm eating. I'm drinking. I'm functioning.
I guess maybe I should turn this into two blog posts or this is going to be one GIANT post.

Let's start with surgery.
I had my surgery again at Columbia St Mary's on Monday Jan 7th. I'm not a fan of them. I think that hospital leaves a lot to be desired as far as the nursing staff goes. Other than the bariatric center, I wouldn't make it a choice to see any doctor there. A great and beautiful state of the art facility with a wonderful view, though. Cosmetically, if that's what you're looking for, it's great.

I arrived at the hospital at 7 where they admitted me and did all the questions about previous history and medication. The anasthesiolgist tech came in about 845 and I immediately started crying when I saw him. At one point, mom said there was still time to back out, and I briefly considered saying "You know what. Forget this. I don't know that it's worth it." He started my central line no problem, the doctor came to visit, and they wheeled me to the OR. They put the mask on me and I remember him saying "Just take a deep breath" and then I woke up in the recovery room. *I might get a little gross if you keep reading. Fair warning.

I was HOT. Like burning up. I remember telling the nurse I was in pain and that I was on fire. She gave me a dose of pain medicine I think? And got me a cold compress. I was super nauseated. I expected a little bit of nausea because anasthetic and I don't usually get along. I couldn't get over the nausea hump and* (stop reading if you aren't ready for a little bit of gross) I threw up. It was brown. Which led me to blood. I got real nervous because when people throw up blood after surgery it's not usually a good sign. The nurse in the recovery room told me it was just "old digestive material" and not to be concerned which eased my fears.

My room wasn't ready for HOURS. I didn't get back up to a real room until 3pm. Nils and mom were there waiting. I was terribly nauseated, kept throwing up and I said to the nurse "This is making me really nervous." She called the doctor and he said it was totally normal. They did take out part of my stomach and apparantly with this surgery there comes a lot more nausea and they just don't know why.

They prescribed me every nausea medicine known to man so I wouldn't go without and yet the nursing staff only came in when I called or when they heard me wretching so terribly that they probably couldn't stand it any longer. *disclaimer* I have many nurses in my family. It's a thankless job. However, I've had some great nurses and I've had some shitty nurses and I kiiiind of feel like this nurse wasn't great.

The rest of the night was more of the same. I had a panic attack when my husband left at 9pm, which bless his heart for even staying that long.  They had prescribed me ativan for the panic attacks but I'm pretty sure that made me worse.

I felt better in the morning. Less nauseated. Doctor came and saw me and said I should probably stay another night and I told him that certainly wasn't happening and he said he'd check on me in the afternoon and we'd decide then.

Then my IV fell out.

I don't know. It just came out of my wrist. I am pretty sure it was as done with me as I was with it. I mean, could they have put it in a more awkward position on the inside of my wrist?
I told the nurse that I was planning on going home in the afternoon and to just give it a minute. If I could get my nausea under control and not vomit, then we didn't need to waste time putting another one in just to take it out again.

Luckily, the nausea had subsided. I went home about 3pm and it was glorious. I was still nauseated which didn't clear up until about that night, but it I wasn't vomitting and was so good to get some ACTUAL rest in my own bed.

I often wonder about that. Hospitals are the place you are supposed to get rest and get better and, yet, who actually gets any rest in a hospital?

Anyways. All was pretty normal until Friday night when I thought I was going to rip my skin off because it was itching so terribly. Turns out I had an allergic reaction to benzoin which is what they use to help the steri strips stick. Then I had an anxiety attack. I wasn't supposed to take the steri stips off...but the STERI STRIPS HAD TO COME OFF. I pulled them off and my skin was red and blistery around the incision sites and then I thought about what if the incisions got infected and then I thought about what if the wounds opened up and then I called and tweeted anyone in the medical profession that I knew and I was able to calm down a bit.

In case anyone is wondering, the use stitches to sew your incisions now a days so, like, even if I had pulled the steri strips off the day of surgery it probably wouldn't matter. Modern medicine. Who knew.

I forced the doctor to see me yesterday just to look at everything and he said everything looks fine. The incisions look great, the skin is getting better, and everyone lived happily ever after.

I'm at the point where I'm going the normal course of action that happens after you do something like this...the wondering if it was all worth it and if I made the right decision. My nurse told me that they just had a patient die this week from obesity related complications before she got to have bariatric surgery.

I've had two now. I'm pretty lucky. And it's a lot to put my body through, but I'm making a future for myself. I clearly am not able to do it without help.

Here's an animated video of what they did to me. It's not gross, I promise. It's like School House Rocks but with a stomach.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Once upon a time in a NYC far away...

This post is overdue, but it's something that hasn't left my mind. Back in October my friend Angie and I went to NYC to a conference put on by our dear friend Krissy who wrote a book called How to Love an American Man. First of all, I can't recommend this book enough. Second of all, let's talk about how incredible it was to read this book, have the author skype in to our book club, and then have her become an amazing friend.

I knew the weekend was going to be an emotional roller coaster and I knew the weekend would bring some learning for me, but I didn't realize how much. I got to spend a day with a room full of educated and professional women who I respect. I spent the day with people from plus size models, to a beauty editor at a famous magazine, to other authors.

One of the things we talked about that day was the people we have in our lives and whether they add or detract from our happiness. It made me think of a lot of people in my life and a lot of people in the lives of people I interact with. The main concept was that these people in your life who detract from your happiness, not only do something as basic as that, but they also draw your energy away from the people who deserve it. Those people who are in your life that make you happy aren't getting reciprocal energy or love or attention from you because you're draining your energy on those in your life who just aren't doing much of anything for you. It seems like a simple concept and yet it was mind blowing to me.

It made me really conscious of people in my life who don't even bother to engage me, ask me questions, or pretend to even sound interested in the things in my life that are important to me right now. Which might sound selfish to you...and it IS. That's the's about being a little selfish.

I know that's kind of heavy. So I'll leave that there for right now. Don't try to process that all now and apply it to your life. Just let it soak in for a little while and come back to it later to gather your lessons. Trust me on this.

I'll tell you some more about the fun we had in NYC to take your mind off of it. We stayed in Queens and took the subway everywhere. We had people ask us directions so obviously we looked like real New Yorkers. We strolled through Central Park and I pointed out all the places joggers were killed on Law and Order. (It happens!) We got to meet Krissy's lovely family and they warmed our hearts. Angie and I made our friendship bi-coastal this weekend as we had traveled to Napa together just a few months ago in July for Team Challenge. (I will need to blog about this later...that was a trip that needs it's second half marathon and Angie's first in the books).
I got to see the Lincoln Tunnel and if any of you love the movie Elf, you'll understand that reference. I was able to meet two dear friends, Codie and Lisa, in person for the first time after being internet friends for years. We had dinner with Krissy at this wonderful little Italian restaurant in Brooklyn and spent the night sharing our lives and stories. We went to China Town and immediately regretted that decision. We ate mussels or oysters or something slimy. We got drunk on Park Avenue directly across from where the Kardashians lived while there, which basically makes us honorary Kardashians. Here are some pictures. New York really is my kind of town. Enjoy! I know I did.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Second verse, same as the first

Who would have thought two years ago I would be sitting here writing about the same hopes and fears (mostly fears) I had the first time I went through this?

The first time I had surgery, I thought what if this fails? What if I fail? I also thought how on earth did you let yourself get to this point?

Tonight, as I prepare to go to work on Monday, I find myself thinking about what I'm going to wear. But not just about what I'm going to wear, but what is going to fit. A weight gain of 15 lbs is a full pants size and a lot on my frame. And I find myself thinking again, how on earth did you get here? I always knew I was going to have the "replacement" surgery. But I remember when I was sick last year due to the complication and I was at my lowest weight and I told myself I'd never be in this position again. And yet here I am...and how can I not consider myself a failure because of that?

To be honest, I know that weight wasn't real. I go back to my definition if insanity. The logic is there. I was losing weight because the piece of plastic they put inside me was eroding my stomach...I was sick! But what I wonder is why I couldn't be strong enough to not even gain an ounce of that weight back even though during this time I was training for my second half marathon?

The pain isn't what I'm worried about. The part about them removing a piece of my stomach isn't what I'm worried about. (Although it should be, I mean who does that? Just like, here I've got some excess stomach I just don't really feel is doing me any good, why don't you just take that and give it to all those poor people who don't have enough stomach).

I'm worried about failing. And that is the scariest of them all.

Friday, November 23, 2012

I'm posting so you know I feel angsty

Jan 7th is my new surgery date and it can't come soon enough.
I've gained about 20 lbs back since last November when my lapband was removed and I will tell you something. Even though I'm still 60lbs lighter I feel like I'm back to square one. The depths of hate for myself and my weight issue can't even be described here, which, speaks to a larger issue than just a weight problem I know. It also really pisses me off that I can't be smarter than this!

I spent a weekend in NY with some of the best and brightest women around. We discussed body image issues and society pressures and how we could love ourselves and yet I simply can't. I'm horrified at the thought that people see me daily. I exaggerate a lot and that is not an exaggeration. If I could hide in my house until my surgery was complete and I had confidence that I was going to start losing weight again I would. I base EVERYTHING on my weight. my happiness, my confidence, and clearly Ive never learned how to stop. The worst part of it all is that I KNOW how insane I'm being.
Maybe that's the definition of insanity. Being insane, knowing it, being conscious of it, and not being able to do anything about it?
Is it insane that when I talk to people I think they are thinking about how heavy I am? Yes. Is it insane that I compare myself to people I have no business comparing myself to? Yes. Do I do it and think it and continue to be conscious of how insane I'm being? Hell yes.
I'm not saying surgery will be a magic fix. It wasn't the first time around and it certainly wasn't easy. But it's a confidence boost to give me the power to be able to do what I need to do. Why j lack that without it, I don't know.
So, until Jan 7th, I'll be hiding in a dark corner over there, imagining I look like a hippopotamus and just being generally insane. If I start talking to some rope, please hang in there. In a few months, I'll be better.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Didn't think it could get worse....

But it did.
Just a few weeks ago, I wrote about Ellie. And how I lost her. And it wasn't fair. And now it's EXTRA not fair. I haven't even healed from Ellie and my heart is breaking all over again.
Last night, I couldn't find Christopher.

When I finally found him he was under the bed. His left leg was limp and he was breathing very heavily. I immediately took him to the Emergency Vet. They said he had saddle thrombosis...blood clots in both his legs that cut off the blood circulation to his legs. And this was due, most likely, to congestive heart failure, which can be virtually undetectable and can strike in an instant. And it did with Christopher. The vet said that he wouldn't regain use of his leg and there was nothing we could do for his heart...and that it would start to get very hard for him to breathe and the clots would start to cause some pain. (Sometimes, reading facts make me feel better, so I've included this)

And with that...I lost my second baby. We had to put him to rest so that he didn't suffer. And again, I held him while he took his last breath in my arms and told him how very loved he was. He was, for all purposes, the most mellow and LOVING cat you would have ever met. Give him a belly rub and he would be yours forever. He couldn't meow. He had a pitiful little squeak...almost like a soft honk that made me giggle every time he did it.
I told him how I loved all his snuggles and the time I spent every morning and every night with him, and the way he wrapped his paws around me in a never ending hug.

For both my kitties, 12 years and 13 years seem like such a long time....and yet, it IS NOT. It is a short, short time. I am not prepared for any of this.
I didn't think my heart could break into smaller pieces, but when it's already shattered, apparantly that's possible. Yes, my animals were so loved. And yes, they had a grand life. And yes, I have another kitty at home that I need to give all my love to. And yes, their lives were so much better with me in it. But, so was mine. Part of my life WAS them. And now that's gone. And now I have to sit here and wait for the pain to lessen again. With a larger piece of my life and my heart missing.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Five Things

For those of you actually reading my blog, sorry about your luck. It's been chock full of nothing pleasant lately. I would be full of lies if I told you from here on out it was going to be rainbows and unicorns. (Except, how awesome would it be if I actually DID have a unicorn? You'd never believe me and then I'd show up at your house with my unicorn and yell at you to never doubt me again.)

Anyways. I wouldn't say I've overcome my sadness just yet. In fact, I might even say I've got a lot of anger boiling up right in this general vicinity right now.

Instead of talking about that though I'm making the choice to do something that is a little bit healthier for my mental state and talk about three things I am lucky for or am happy about. (Yeah so here's the thing about that title right up top. I thought maybe I should do five things, but I could really only come up with three. I mean, with all the things going on, you should really just give me a break.)

1) I was just offered a promotion at work. I will now have direct reports and it comes with a teeny bit of a raise. In the grand scheme of things, I've now gotten my second promotion within a year. Which means I'm pretty damn good at my job and I'm pretty damn awesome.

2) I have the most amazing friends. Friends who love me no matter what. Friends who don't judge me. I have two ladies in my life who let me be me whether it's good, bad or ugly.
True friends are the people who are there for you unconditionally. They are the people who never question you and support you no matter what the circumstances are. They are the people worth living for.

3) I have my health. In addition to my health, I'm getting healthier. I am blessed to be a part of Team Challenge where I am training for my second half marathon and I'm helping others by fundraising to find a cure. Donate Here
This is not only going to lead me to complete my second half marathon which is KIND of a big deal, but allow me to take my second trip to Napa with an amazing group of people and enjoy life.

Luckily, I have some really awesome people in my life to help me when I feel like everything has been turned upside down. So, in the end...I'll get through this. I always do.